I used to be so super excited to get projects that I would often dive right into designing. After getting started, I would then get the question “how much do you charge?” As I stumbled along unsure of what to say, I would toss out a number and would often receive the income I desired. After those initial moments of being more stunned than I probably should have been, I began looking up equations for determining what to charge depending upon the number of years in the industry, client’s industry and the time the project would take.
Before haphazardly throwing out a number, simply tell the client that you will write up a quote for him. That will give you time to really consider what will be required to complete the project, compare your prices to others in the industry on your level and in your area and consider why the price is what it is. The latter is important in case your client questions the cost.
Now I know exactly how much I would charge for a website, logo, magazine or flyer depending on the sector (non-profit, entrepreneur/small business or large company). I also know how long the project should take if I was wise in choosing my client. Yes, you choose your client. As an entrepreneur, you have the privilege to not take a client or not. Not everyone is your client and that is ‘okay’.
Take some time to look at the projects you are most asked to create. If your most requested three projects in the course of a year or two are T-shirts, flyers and website, write out a spec sheet on each project type with a low, medium and high price tier adding features with increased cost. Save it on your phone or in Google Docs, so you can quickly reference it when asked about your fees.
If you are confident in your prices, do not lower them to appease the budget of a client. You will most likely resent the project or rush through it to get to those that are higher paying. At a business development event I attended two years ago, the speaker said, “If a client asks you to lower your prices and you know your prices are accurate, that is not your client.” It was the most liberating statement I had ever heard. When I don’t get a client due to their budgetary restrictions, I remind myself of that statement and the reality that she or he was not my client.